Heroin and Acne

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Rumpus contributor Chloe Caldwell gives a bold account of her struggle with acne and heroin in her recent essay at Salon.

Caldwell says:

I’ve used drugs to numb myself since I was 16. They’ve helped me be there but not really there. When my parents separated, I smoked pot four times a day. When the man I loved didn’t love me back enough, I drank myself silly and snorted cocaine. After my car accident, I fell into the painkiller pothole. And most recently, heroin (and other opiates) helped me cope with my acne problem. Got a bunch of zits? Buy a bag of heroin. Depressed about how you look? Text your drug dealer. What else was there to do?

Caldwell’s essay reveals how identity and substance abuse are often intertwined, especially when one’s superficial identity is consumed by an uncontrollable force like acne.


Pat Johnson is currently working on his master’s in Fiction Writing at San Francisco State University, and is the owner and editor of the satirical news website The New Porker. When Pat’s not reading or writing he’s likely squeezing a lime into a Tecate and headed to the dance floor. He also creates short films, documentaries, and sketch comedies. Pat is completing his first novel, The Virgin and Marilyn Monroe, and writing a book of Creative Non-Fiction short stories. More from this author →